W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, May 31, 2023
It’s been, too long since I’ve published a post, but there have been many I’ve done in my mind. Things just get in the way of writing and posting.
Speaking of which, there are two school days remaining in this school year and I harken back to a school year gone awry and the birth of Making the Days Count dot org, at first a dot com. That was thirteen years ago; this post is the first of year fourteen.
I spent the evening marking papers, then realized I needed to run a quick errand and walked outside to discover the moon and the flag.
A lot has taken place since that first post thirteen years ago, but theirs is more to tell in the years ahead, just like the flag and moon. There’s more left and beginning Monday at noon, there are 76 days to practice for the time when I won’t be teaching.
Today was a great day, I think I got 140 sixth graders to think about energy transfer when they really wanted to think about summer break and sleeping in. Tomorrow we are on a walking field trip to a local park and Friday will be here and gone before I know it and I’ll be outside waving to school buses as the leave the parking lot one last time.
I’ve got a little formatting to do and then I’ll press publish and this will go live. The day is done, and I am headed to bed to catch some rest before it starts all over anew. Making the days Count, one day at a time, it’s all in a cycle.
W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, March 29, 2023
For this week’s Wordless Wednesday, I have the old section of the historic Seven Mile Bridge which is the dividing line between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico in the Strait of Florida. I love how in the evening light the line between the ocean and the sky blend together.
My wife and I are enjoying a spring break vacation in the Florida Keys. Sunrises and sunsets mark our days and are often spectacular. Sadly, after three days in the Keys, this was our first ‘watched’ sunset though I have yet to miss a sunrise.
The bridge was constructed as part of the Overseas Railroad extension from Miami to Key West in the early twentieth century. The railroad operated until 1935 when massive hurricane wiped out a portion of the railroad. The right of way was sold to the state of Florida and the bridges were used to build a highway from Miami to Key West. The railway bridges were replaced in the early 1980s and the old bridges were disabled and left in place. A portion Seven Mile Bridge and several other bridges were set aside for fishermen. Additionally, a two-mile segment of the old Seven Mile Bridge connecting Knights Key with Pigeon Key.
It is always peaceful and calm when we visit. The temperatures have been in the 80s (28-31C) and there has been plenty of sunshine in between sunrise and sunset.
This morning, I watched the sunrise and I know today is gonna be an awesome day, I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. And press publish for the first time in a long while. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, always looking, always watching, wondering.
W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, February 8, 2023
It is Wednesday and I have written or posted in a very long while.
Birds have been visiting the feeder this winter and I looked out the kitchen window a couple of weeks ago to see a pair of cardinals feeding – a couple a male and a female. The male with his bright red plumage caught my eye and I took photos of both. I am saving the rest for a future post.
Today is going to be a great day, an amazing day, in fact. I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, enjoying the longer days and the sunshine we’ve had of late.
What do you see when you look out your kitchen window?
W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, January 4, 2023
I’ve been in northern Mississippi since Monday afternoon. I flew Southwest Airlines, yes that Southwest Airlines. The airline that melted down and cancelled hundreds of flights for an entire week beginning the day after Christmas. It’s been my go-to airline since I began travelling to Mississippi to visit my stepmother or care for the house these past three years.
Yesterday, I engaged a realtor to sell the property. The day began with thunderstorms racing through the area and a tornado warning. By noon, the skies were clear. I took care of a few errands and decided to walk around her neighborhood one last time. Oxford is a beautiful town, and I understand how she and my dad came to love it.
As I finished my walk, the sun had set, and the moon was rising. I’d gotten a message from an app that the moon and mars would be in conjunction and the best viewing time would 5:06 PM. It was still light out and the moon was visible, but Mars wasn’t. I pulled a lawn chair out onto the drive and sat and watched. Within twenty minutes Mars became visible as a small dot above the moon.
I savored the moment; it was a beautiful January evening, and it was pleasant enough to sit outside without a jacket.
I’ve enjoyed my visits over the years, but I am hoping this is my last trip to Oxford.
I had entertained the idea of driving to Vicksburg and staying at the Baer House and visiting the Vicksburg battlefield one more time but decided to get home and finish up a few things before school restarts Monday.
It’s a beautiful sunny day at the Memphis airport, but it will be good to get home later this evening.
Today is already an amazing day. I got to the airport ahead of time, I am checked in, and waiting on an airplane. I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, looking forward to getting home.
W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, December 28, 2022
Last night I was on my way home from purchasing a lottery ticket, two tickets, one for last night’s drawing and one for tonight’s drawing. I know, the chance of winning is minuscule, maybe even infinitesimal, but I purchased them anyway.
On the way home, I looked up to see the setting waxing crescent moon and Jupiter. A cloudless or less clouded December sky is a rarity here in northern Illinois and I suppose my four-dollar purchase of lottery tickets could be construed as an admission ticket to a Tuesday evening light show.
I pulled to the roadside and waited patiently for traffic to pass while I snapped photos of the prairie, the moon, and Jupiter; all of which are reflecting our sun’s light. It takes the sun’s light 5080.32 seconds to travel from the sun to Jupiter and reflect toward Earth so we can see it. That’s an hour, twenty-four minutes, and forty seconds.
My last post was titled ‘light’ and I almost named this post ‘light, again,’ but I decided that the title above would be better. Things take time and cloud free nights in winter are rare. This morning the sun rose, as it always does, and we welcomed a new day. Today is going to be an amazing day. I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, being patient with the universe.
When was the last time you looked up to see the light of a night sky?
W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, December 7, 2022
The past few weekends my wife and I have spent the afternoons cleaning leaves and adding Christmas lights to our yard.
We finished this past weekend, and I was at the right place at the right time to capture the lights and the sunset before they were gone for another day.
I enjoy looking out in the evening and seeing the illumination of the yard and I am reminded there is light in the world.
Sunny days in December are rare. This morning there is dense fog, tomorrow rain. But, I know there is light amid the darkness and I am going to find it and let it shine. Today is going to be an amazing day. I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, leaving my mark.
How is your Wednesday going (or any day for that matter)?
W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, September 21, 2022
A couple of weeks ago, I was mowing our lawn on a Wednesday evening after school, when I looked up to discover this young boy and his mom investigating the handprints in our sidewalk. His mother was patient as the young boy placed his hands in each of the handprints and repeated the process.
The first was the handprint made by our daughter who was four almost five years old and the other, our son who was eight years old at the time. Beneath each handprint, my wife had scratched their initials and the date. The year was 2007.
Our kids are grown. Our son is married, our daughter in college, and one day this young boy will be making his way after leaving his mark somewhere along the way.
We all leave a mark, sometimes it’s visible and sometimes it’s not. It’s in the things we do, the way we made people feel, thew tings we say and write, and the contribution we made along the way.
Today is going to be an amazing day. I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, leaving my mark.
Twenty-one years ago, this morning, I was welcoming my seventh graders into my geography classroom. It was early in the year in the year, and we were building routines and learning. I was learning their names and faces and the lesson for the day was the water cycle.
I don’t remember the first two classes, but I do remember when a counselor came into the classroom towards the end of the second class, about 9:20 AM or so. She waited until the class ended, the third period class had entered, and settled and until after the bell had rung and then she made the announcement that earlier in the morning America had been attacked. Her message was scripted and every classroom in our school go the same message at the same time.
I don’t remember the exact text of the message, but I can close my eyes and go back to room B111 on September 11, 2001 and picture the layout of the room on that morning.
On nine-eleven two thousand one, I was 39 and my students were 12.
This past spring, I began volunteering regularly at Loaves and Fishes on Thursday after school. I had been volunteering on Saturdays since early 2020, but I decided to add a new day. Soon, I had been asked to be the lead volunteer for my part of the operation on Thursday afternoon. Loaves and Fishes is a wonderful place, and I am thankful to be part of an organization that helps people in need, especially when the cost of groceries and gasoline have increased significantly. I have also discovered a community of people who care about others, and I have met several parents of former students who volunteer for the organization. It’s a small world.
It was the last day of school and summer had begun when I walked into the market at Loaves and Fishes for my Thursday afternoon shift.
I saw Michelle and we greeted each other, and she shared a story with me. It went something like this:
Michelle – you teach at Scullen, right? Me – yes, I do. Michelle – Do remember Judy? She was the nurse. Me – Yes, I remember Judy and I remember having her son Joey in class. It’s been a log time. Michelle – I was at a going away party last weekend for Judy. She’s retired and moving to Wisconsin, and I mentioned I had me you at Loaves and Fishes. She remembered you and we were talking, and Allison overheard us and joined our conversation, do remember her? Me – yes, I do. I do remember that name – it was our first year at the school and we were all new. Michelle – well, she remembers you. Me – WOW. Really? I remember her, too. I hadn’t thought about that name since she was in my class. That’s a long time ago. Michelle – yes, it was and she does. She told the two of us that every year on 9/11, she remembers being in your class and being scared and that you were calm and reassured her and the class that everything would be okay. Me – WOW (and at this point I am beginning to tear up) Michelle – Ally’s married and has two kids and lives in the area. Me – We all grow up, thank you for telling me this.
That’s how I remember our conversation and it’s stuck with me since.
This summer I started my baseball trip in New York City. The first game was Sunday at Yankee Stadium and after the game I drove to Washington, D. C. for another game. I returned Tuesday for third game and the possibility of visiting the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Unfortunately, the museum was closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the time I was in New York City. But I figured I could at least visit the Memorial before I left for my Philadelphia and game four.
Tuesday night I set alarm for early Wednesday morning, before sunrise. My plan was to walk to the memorial which was less than a mile away from my hotel. It was early morning twilight, and I was surrounded by tall buildings blocking much of the light. New York City was beginning to waken, even though I suspect the city never sleeps, it’s always moving. Cars, buses, and trucks were beginning start the day and few people were walking with me. Some going to work and other heading home.
It Sunday and the second day of a three-day weekend. It’s Labor Day weekend where we spend the weekend working to put away summer and prepare for fall.
Three years ago, we weren’t here, but our neighbors along the shoreline pitched in and put away our stuff. It’s a community here, a microcosm of what the world can be if all of us could simply get along. I am full of gratitude for that act of kindness and concern and always will be.
There is power in community.
Yesterday we toiled to pull boats, move lifts, unbolt dock sections, and worked together as a family and a community.
Then when the sun began to set and all of us stopped to watch the sun slowly dip beneath the horizon and declare completion to the day.
Last night, I waded into the lake to capture last night’s sunset and it did not disappoint, it never does. The sunset always amazes me as it has countless people going back in time.
It’s Sunday, there is more work to be done. The kids are still sleeping, exhausted from a full day and then being up late with their lake friends. By the time the sun sets this evening, we’ll have summer packed away until next year.
It’s going to be a great day. I know it and I can feel it. Sunday by the lake in early September means making the day count by pitching in and doing what needs to be done. So, I had better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days count, one day at time.
The sound of rain woke me this morning at 5:35 AM and the thought I’d forgotten to roll up my windows got me out of bed. Any other summer morning, I might have gotten up, gone to the bathroom, and crawled back beneath the covers, but not this morning. I pulled on a pair of shorts, grabbed my car keys, and walked out to my car to confirm that I had forgotten to roll up my windows.
I not sure the term ‘roll up the windows’ applies any longer. The last car I had that had manual windows was the 1971 VW Beetle or it could have been the 1985 Jetta, but it has been a long time since I have rolled up the window with a hand crank. I did remember to bring the key and I had to start the car before I could get the windows closed. I am glad I woke when I did, it continues to gently rain as I begin to write a couple of hours later.
Maybe next time, I’ll remember to close my windows or at least check them, when I know rain is in the forecast. After all, last night we covered the boats, closed the shack door, and put away summer things in anticipation of the rain this morning. It is something we learned under grandpa years ago. It’s summer learning, but it could be said that ‘some’re learning’ which is how ‘some are learning’ sounds if you aren’t listening to the context.
School restarts for me, a week from tomorrow. I am excited to get back to school and try somethings I learned this summer and continue to practice what I’ve learned about teaching kids in the past twenty-three years. The first three days of school are filled with meetings, time to plan, and time to get the room ready for the kids who join us on Thursday, August 18.
A couple of friends joined us this past Wednesday and as always, we enjoyed their visit. They are the same couple who we vacationed with this past spring in the Keys. They are also the same couple we drove home with after BOTH of our flights home were cancelled on Saturday, April 2. All four of us sharing driving time through Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and southeastern Indiana where their son was able to meet them and take them to their home in southwestern Ohio.
Thursday morning, we decided on a visit to Mackinac. It’s pronounced – mack-in-naw and it is Ojibwa word for ‘turtle’ and refers to the island which dominates the strait between the upper and lower peninsula.
We could not have chosen a better day for our trip; clear blue skies with puffy clouds drifting across the horizon and comfortable temperatures.